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Hawkstone showdown! Red Bull Pro Nationals Preview

20:41 24th August 2012 by Ray Chuss - Editor Online @chussy
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Hawkstone showdown! Red Bull Pro Nationals Preview

Nicolas Aubin and Stephen Sword go into this weekend’s sixth round of the Red Bull Pro Nationals locked together on 167 points as the battle for MX1 supremacy heads to the super-tough and utterly unforgiving Hawkstone Park.

Swordy had led the series from the word go thanks to a double win at the opening round at Landrake back in May but the Tyco Suzuki by TAS rider was left counting the cost of an first moto, first turn stall at Canada Height’s fifth round. He fought back to eighth in class after a tough 25-minute moto but Aubin finished four places higher and the French Buildbase Honda rider then went out in race two and nailed a monster holeshot which he converted into a win. Swordy followed him across the line but Aubin snatched the red series leader’s plate on the strength of most race wins.

Martin Barr, winner of the first race at Canada Heights, pulled six points back on team-mate Sword and now lies within striking distance of the lead pair just 11 points adrift.

Despite losing his goggles and taking a rock in his face in the opening race at Canada Heights, Evo-Tech Honda’s Neville Bradshaw ran 2-4 in class in Kent for the overall win and extended his lead in the championship. The South African was the first ever Red Bull Pro Nationals MX2 champ and is now 29 points clear of early series leader Steven Lenoir.

The French Emberson Yamaha rider will be aiming to claw some points back before the series finale at Culham next month but as well as attempting to chase down Bradshaw he’ll also need to stay ahead of third-placed Nathan Watson – last year’s Rookie title winner – and his Irish team-mate Graeme Irwin who lies fourth.

As well as bar-banging racing with the pro and two-stroke races plus the rising stars of the Red Bull Elite Youth Cup, a packed programme of off-track events is planned for the Sunday including FMX, petrol and pedal-powered trials demos by Dougie Lampkin and the Zero Gravity MTB team, a fly-past by the Red Bull Matador aerobatic display team and Kye Forte’s BMX show. Then there’s children’s TV favourites Peppa Pig and George plus Fireman Sam in the Kidzone and there’ll also be a bouncy castle, face painting, a real fire engine, bungee trampolines and Zorb balls ensuring that from toddlers to teens there’s something for everyone.

Youth Preview

With five rounds down and just two to go the heat is on for the up-and-coming aces of the Red Bull Elite Youth Cup. And with round six being staged in the sand of Hawkstone Park this weekend it’s set to be their toughest test so far this season.

The Rookie class is shaping up to be an epic encounter with just 11 points separating the top three pilots. Jake Millward has won three overalls from five but has also finished off the overall podium twice and the 18-year-old Oakleaf Kawasaki ace put in a below par performance last time out at Canada Heights where Dan Thornhill cut his points lead from 57 to just eight.

But second overall in the sand at Mill in Holland shows he’s got skills in the soft stuff although Ben Watson is just three points further back – and he won at Mill and when the series visited the sand of FatCat for round two earlier in the year.

Buildbase Honda’s Josh Gilbert hasn’t finished off the podium all season and has pretty much wrapped up the BW85cc title. With just 10 races left to go he has a huge 166-point lead over nearest challenger Todd Kellett.

In the SW85cc class Keenan Hird has a 68-point lead over South African Marcus Phelps. The 12-year-old who flies in for every round from his Southern Hemisphere home has beaten Keenan at the last two rounds but these victories have been close and he’s running out of races to take a serious chunk out of the 10-year-old Yorkshire lad’s lead.

The 65cc class is boiling down into a great battle between Powerband KTM riders Christopher Mills and Tom Grimshaw. After sweeping to a full house of five wins at the opening round at Landrake, 11-year-old Tom has been slightly off his South Yorkshire team-mate’s pace. Mills, back in fifth in Cornwall, has responded with a four-round win-streak that’s carried him to a 16-point lead.

Then chuck in a Saturday evening Red Bull party and camping and it’s got the makings of a great weekend.

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